Family-Owned Business the Epicenter of Tragedy Following Kentucky Tornadoes



kentucky tornados

The Mayfield Consumer Products company was in the process of making candles to meet the holiday rush when a massive tornado struck Mayfield, Kentucky. With 110 people working during the tornado, the shock of the devastation to the building was only surpassed with the news that the lives of 102 people were spared. But the loss of eight people in this family-owned small business is a heavy toll to bear for all the co-workers and the community at large.



Family-Owned Candle Factory Business the Epicenter of Kentucky Tornadoes Tragedy

The Mayfield Consumer Products company is a family-owned small business. It was established in the mid-1990s by Mary Propes from her garage in Mayfield, Kentucky. The company makes branded candles and home fragrance products which it sells to Bath & Body Works and other businesses, according to the Courier Journal.

The Mayfield Consumer Products facility was completely destroyed.

Mayfield is located in Graves County, Kentucky, and has a population of almost 10,000 people. Beyond the destruction of the Mayfield Consumer Products facility, many other small businesses were also damaged or completely destroyed. Officials are still assessing the damage to small businesses in the community.

As a small business, it is critically important to have disaster recovery plan steps in place. This is especially important if the region is prone to natural disasters. The plan should also include ways to keep your business operational after a natural disaster. Granted this may not always be possible but planning ahead will help your recovery process.

Disaster Declaration and SBA Loans

After surveying the aftermath of the damage caused by the tornadoes, Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear requested for a disaster declaration from President Biden, which he approved. A disaster declaration makes it possible for individuals, businesses, as well as state and local entities to start applying for federal funds to help in the recovery effort.



The action by the President authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. The federal aid will go to individuals and business owners in Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Taylor, and Warren counties. The aid will come in the form of grants, loans, and other programs for temporary housing and home repairs as well as covering uninsured property losses.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest disaster loans to families and businesses in Kentucky. You can apply for a loan of up to $2 million if your business was damaged in the declaration zones. Additionally, you can also get Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) assistance.

You can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application through the SBA’s secure website and find additional disaster loan applications. You can also talk to someone at the SBA calling the customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 for information on loans. The number for the deaf or hard-of-hearing is 1-800-877-8339.

Lending a Helping Hand

If you want to help the MCP Candles Tornado Victims’ Fund you can go to the company site, https://mayfieldemployment.com/. According to the CEO of Mayfield Consumer Products, Troy Propes, 100% of the funds will go to the employees.



The Tornadoes

More than 30 tornadoes ripped across six states on December 10 with a path of devastating destruction. The National Weather Service said Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee were affected by one or more of these tornadoes. However, the tornado or tornadoes that caused the biggest damage took place in a 250-mile path. This was through western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee northeast Arkansas, and southeast Missouri. The EF Rating for the tornadoes was as high as EF-3 or greater with estimated peak winds of 158 to 206 MPH.

The National Weather Service also said the tornadoes hurled debris in the sky for more than three hours straight. And Mayfield, Kentucky had the dubious honor of recording debris lofted over 30,000 feet into the air. This is amongst the most intense on record.

The death toll still hasn’t been fully determined, but it is expected to go beyond 100. So far 90 people have been killed with up to 100 still missing.

As far as damages go, that is also being assessed. And considering such a long path of destruction, it may be several days before the full tally will be announced. However, damages into the billions of dollars are anticipated.



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Michael Guta Michael Guta is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on business systems, gadgets and other small business news. He has a background in information and communications technology coordination.

One Reaction
  1. Thank you for this informative article. It is a big help, especially for the people who don’t know what to do after the tornado.

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